At age six, author Jase Haber proclaimed he needed an agent because he wanted to be an actor. Haber can’t remember ever wanting to be something else. In Prince of Cons, Haber shares his life story and his circuitous route to realizing his long-held dream. Born in Miami, South Florida, Haber was the youngest of three siblings with strong Cuban ancestry and was raised in a traditional Latino, Catholic family. He was only eleven or twelve years old when he used his acting skills to carry out his first con, which then became a way of life. This memoir tells how Haber, always seeking to be successful, escalated into a world of drugs and crime, eventually serving time in federal prison. Prince of Cons narrates how Haber lived a long life in a short while and how he now focuses on avoiding crime, being productive, providing for his family, and pursuing his acting career.
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I’m of Cuban heritage, the youngest of 3 kids. I don’t have too many memories of my childhood but… I do remember my constant focus on wanting to be an actor. It was overwhelming, you know? I remember going to the movies every Saturday at 10 AM when they opened. I’m not kidding when I say that I saw every new movie that came out over that weekend. My mom would drop me off and pick me up 7 hours later. I literally saw every movie no matter the genre. Every one in the theater knew me. I had some other fun, played baseball… but movies were it for me.
I don’t really know what made me want to be an actor so intensely. Probably playing with my cousin, silly kids’ games like cops and robbers. I always wanted to be everything, to play at being every occupation, and the only thing in this world that allows you to be an astronaut, cop, or firefighter is… y’know, acting. In the games we played, I always enjoyed being the bad guy more than anything. But… how did I get my start with conning people out of their money? When i was young, I began selling airheads. I knew the going rate was 25 cents but I sold them to older people for a dollar. I knew they didn’t know any better, and if they did, I would give them a spiel on how I was trying to raise money to go on a trip to Boston with my school, but it was all bs.
And I just… never stopped. I’d think of bigger and better things to sell, newer and cleverer stories. I kept doing it because I loved money, loved how it made me feel, the power, the importance. But more than anything, I relished how I could buy love with money. From friends, family… anyone in my life, I loved to see the light in someone’s eyes when I could give them a gift they’d never imagined they’d have. I loved giving more than receiving. But it had to end, eventually. I realized I was in to deep when I saw people getting arrested on tv for doing the exact same thing I was doing… but at that point I was in so deep. It was too late.
Going to prison made me wiser and more patient. Made me realize that materialistic things don’t mean shit, you know? I was losing everything while sitting in a cell and all I think about was ‘are my son and wife were ok?’. If there’s anyone you really love, or want to protect, being locked away in jail away from them is… almost the worst thing in the world that can happen to you.
I wanted people to read my story. I wanted to give others the opportunity to learn some sort of lesson from all my mistakes. As much as it can feel like it, money is not everything. It’s damn sure a necessity, but… it’s not everything.
I hope my story touches your heart heart, and helps you look at the world in a different way.